A man gestures in front of a flag bearing a portrait of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Turkish residents of the Netherlands gather for a protest outside Turkey's consulate in Rotterdam on March 11, 2017. Protests erupted in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam late on March 11 outside the Turkish consulate amid a row with Ankara after Dutch authorities banned the visits of Turkish ministers. About 1,000 people waving Turkish flags gathered on the street leading to the consulate, as tensions rocketed over rallies abroad to help Ankara gain backing for an April referendum vote. PHOTO: Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday threatened that the Netherlands would “pay a price” after expelling a Turkish minister and preventing Ankara’s top diplomat from landing ahead of planned rallies.
The crisis with the Netherlands is the most serious yet as tensions spiral between Turkey and its EU allies over the desire of top Turkish officials to hold rallies abroad ahead of the April 16 referendum on a new constitution that would give Erdogan greater powers.
“Hey Holland! If you are sacrificing Turkish-Dutch relations for the sake of the elections on Wednesday, you will pay a price,” an angry Erdogan told a ceremony in Istanbul, referring to the upcoming legislative polls in Turkey’s NATO ally.
“They will learn what diplomacy is,” he growled, adding that what happened “cannot remain unanswered.”
Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was expelled after being prevented from addressing a rally in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.
Turkish officials said she said she and her entourage were subjected to “rude and tough treatment”.
Erdogan added: “They went as far as to lock the door of the consulate there (in Rotterdam).”
Also this weekend, The Hague refused to allow Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s plane to land ahead of a planned rally.
Erdogan reaffirmed his accusations from Saturday that the Dutch behaviour over the Turkish visits was “Nazism, fascism”.
“They will pay the price of treating my citizens, my foreign minister… in an impudent way.”
Indicating that he himself plans to travel to Europe for rallies, Erdogan aded: “I can go to any country I want if I have a diplomatic passport.”
The latest row came after NATO allies Turkey and Germany sparred over the cancellation of a series of referendum campaign events there.
“The West has clearly shown its true face in the last couple of days,” Erdogan said.
“What we have seen in the last days is a clear manifestations of Islamophobia,” he added.
Cavusoglu, meanwhile, has flown to France where he was set to address a rally in the eastern city of Metz on Sunday.
The French foreign ministry has cleared his visit, a French official said.
“I thank France. France was not deceived by such games,” Erdogan said.